Middlebury Rugby has a strong contingent at the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand including Epeli Rokotuiveikau ’04, Spencer Paddock ’09, Alex White ’09, Max Levine ’09, Robert “BoGo” Gosney ’09, Neil Danner ’09, Mikey Pappa ’11, Dylan Whitaker ’13 and Tom Lynch ’14.
Some of the boys have already run into Zimbabwean born USA winger Takudzwa Ngwenya and several other Eagles at a bar after the Russia game. Rumor has it Ngwenya tried to trade his scrum cap for Spencer’s tour shirt!
But the crew is not just in New Zealand watching rugby – they went to play! Paddock’s US team the Missoula Maggots–a DII men’s club–have a touring social side in New Zealand and some of the Middlebury boys joined them in their September 24 game against the Wellington University Old Boys RFC. Max Levine, former MCRC captain, two-time DII collegiate national champion and US Maccacbee, picked up a try in the game.
It was a close game for the MCRC/Maggots combined side, but the visitors lost despite the best efforts of Levine at utility back, BoGo at prop, Connor Burleigh hooking, Mike Pappa at lock, Dylan Whitaker at wing and lock (bet Coach John Phillips had not thought of that one yet–Whitaker may return from abroad to find his jersey number in the single digits!), and Paddock at fullback.
The boys have played in two other games on different teams. September 11 saw them join a “USA invitational side” to take on a New Plymouth club. That team featured some all blacks sevens players in their back line so their play was nothing short of tidy. The random assortment on the US side did not have the chemistry to match them but it was a good game nonetheless. The third game was against Bobby Gosney’s club in New Zealand, the Bright Water Wanderers. The MCRC bolstered the Brisbane Irish to help them hang with the Kiwis.
We look forward to hearing more from the boys in New Zealand–if you know anyone else related to Middlebury Rubgy in New Zealand for the world cup please let us know.